Re: “Aldergrove house now a designated heritage site,” (The Star, Nov. 13).
We were very pleased to see the Shortreed house in Aldergrove designated as a heritage site, even though it has been moved from its original site.
However, some of the information in the story is incorrect. Some of the following details come from the Aldergrove history book “A Place Between.”
The confusion concerning James’ brother Robert Jr. and father, Robert C. Sr. may be excusable, but the house was located on the homestead land of James’ father, Robert C. Sr., on Jackman Road (now 272 St.).
Robert Jr. lived on what is now Shortreed Corners, where he also had 160 acres of land which he was homesteading.
Robert Jr. was the the proprietor of the general store on the corner of what is now 264 St. and Fraser Highway (what was then Old Yale Road), and his land was to the south and west of the corner.
Robert Jr. came to the area 36 years before his death in 1924, but he moved to Abbotsford and was acting as a Justice of the Peace and a Customs agent there for 24 years before his death.
James was the the youngest son of Robert Sr. and came to the Aldergrove area with his parents at age 14, in 1885, a year later than his oldest brother, Robert Jr., who was 13 years older than him.
The woman who would become James’ wife, Laura Perry, lived at Robert Jr.’s and was the first to operate the telegraph system in 1901. While all the Shortreed brothers, Robert Jr., John, Duncan, Tomas and Findley were able to get a homestead quarter (160 acres) of land in the Aldergrove area, James was too young and when he finally came of age there was no longer any homestead land available.
Therefore James went up to work at Rock Bay as a railway boss in a logging firm, along with brothers, John and Findley. Findley was killed there when a train rolled down the track and killed him.
But James was sending some of his earnings home to his father and mother while he worked. It was with the promise that the home land would be his when his father no longer needed it. His father, Robert C. Sr. died in 1908 and his mother, Margaret in 1916.
James and Laura then came to back Aldergrove and moved the original homestead house of Robert and Margaret off the site, to the north about 500 feet, for James’ widowed sister Christie Deans and her family to live in.
James then began to build his new home with top quality lumber he had secured at Rock Bay.
He always said; “I defy any one to find a knot in those floor joists.”
Rod and Ada Deans, Langley